Simple Video

Tasty & Simple Chili Mac & Cheese

Now, there are just some recipes that as you cook, you become more hungry. It’s the smell as the recipe cooks. I know my nephew, Dylan, and I were hungry, but as we cooked this Chili Mac & Cheese, our mouths were watering! We had people coming over after we taped the video, and all I can say is – we didn’t have any left to take a photo of! We ate every last bit of this oh so yummy recipe!! So, sorry about no photos to share of this delectable treat!

I believe that is a sign of a good recipe!

So here it is!

Chili Mac & Cheese


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 4 1/2 ounces finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add beef and next five ingredients; cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked through. Add the broth, water, and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.

While the macaroni is cooking, heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until cheese melts, stirring frequently (using a whisk really helped!) Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar and continue stirring until smooth. Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well to coat. Serve hot!

Adapted from a favorite recipe on


SSD Chili Mac & Cheese

Simple Treat: Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Summertime has the kids home, ready to raid the pantry for snacks. You want to give them something that will be good for them, but when they are craving something sweet, what do you do? Try these simple, frozen treats you can feel good about – the kids can even make these treats themselves! Plus, it is a nice snack for those adults who have a sweet tooth – only about 25 calories per bite!

SSD Banana Bites 2

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites


  • Three ripe (but not too ripe!) bananas
  • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 Tablespoons vegetable oil


Place a sheet of wax paper on a baking sheet.

Slice the bananas into ½ inch slices.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and oil. Place in microwave and heat on full (HIGH) power for 30 seconds. Stir. Place back in microwave for 10-second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is just smooth. (FYI – Don’t over cook, or the chocolate will harden and look grainy.)

Dip the banana slices in the chocolate, making sure to cover entire slice in chocolate.

Place slices on wax paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for six hours or overnight until slices are thoroughly frozen.



SSD Banana Bites

Nitty Gritty Basics For The Dorm Room


What do you pack for your first time in college? The Diva shares some simple basics for the dorm room that are “mom recommended” for college freshmen! Use this as a starting point for your student, taking into consideration their wants and likes!

This video is part of the series, “Heading Off To College” — simple tips & helpful hints to make it easier to send your students off to college!

SSD Dorm Basics


Create A College Emergency Kit


You get that dreaded call from your college freshman, “Mom, I’m sick! My head hurts!” (or stomach, or ears, etc.). What can you do? Send them off to college with an emergency kit, full of items they can use to combat some of the simplest, (yet most annoying) of health problems!

The Diva shows you how to assemble a kit, with Mom-Recommended items that might help your student help themselves!

Note: Items in the kit are suggestions – choose items that are appropriate for your student. If you know they have allergies, add in allergy medicine you know works for them. You know they get a sour stomach during mid-terms? Pack in some tummy meds that you know work.

This video is part of the “Heading Off To College” series, featuring simple tips and helpful hints to make it easier to send your students off to college!

SSD Emergency Kit

Make a Three-Tiered Herb Garden In Just 20 Minutes

Yes, in 20 minutes you really CAN make a three tiered herb garden. It is simple and, if you use clay pots, pretty cost effective!

Supplies Needed:

  • Five Clay Pots of various sizes – I used a 15″, 12″, 8.5″ (two of them), and a 6.5″ pot.
  • Garen Soil – I used Miracle Grow Potting Soil with moisture control.
  • Plant Food – I used Osmocote for Flowers and Vegetables.
  • Stones for Drainage


Check out the easy to follow the directions in the video!

SSD Herb Garden

How Easy Is It To Make Your Own Artwork?

Today’s video is part of the “Putting Pinterest To The Test” Video Series! The Diva tests a pin that says it is easy to make your own, beautiful wall art – as easy as having some acrylic paints, a canvas and some masking tape. How easy is it? Do you need an art degree, or at least a little creativity?

Additionally, the Diva was a little wary that the masking tape might not create a good seal on the canvas, so she tested masking tape versus Frogtape Multi-surface painting tape.





To make your own wall art, you need will the following:

Check the video for directions and helpful tips!

What do you think of our artwork?

Artwork created by the Diva's daughter!
Artwork created by the Diva’s daughter!
Artwork created by the Diva!
Artwork created by the Diva!


Make Your Morning Smoothie, The Simple Way

My family loves a good smoothie for breakfast, but sometimes the morning rush leaves us without enough time to assemble the smoothie! Check out the simple video tip above for a simple solution to that time problem!


My smoothie packets all assembled and ready to use in the morning!
My smoothie packets all assembled and ready to use in the morning!

Frozen Smoothie Packet Recipes:

Smoothie Flavor Combos – You are only limited by your imagination!

Our current favorite recipe includes banana, mango, pineapple, spinach, and coconut greek yogurt (mixed with apple juice)! My oldest says, “It is better than ice cream, and healthier, too!”

Other favorites include:

The Superfood Smoothie – strawberry, blueberry, chia seeds and apple juice or almond milk.

The Tropical – Mango, Pineapple, Coconut Yogurt mixed with organic acai juice.

Strawberry & Banana – mixed with vanilla yogurt and almond milk.

Another great tip when preparing your frozen smoothie packets: If you want to include yogurt in your smoothie, use an ice cube tray and make yogurt ice cubes. They make it easier to assemble your smoothie packets!

SSD Smoothie PAckets

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